Virginia Congress Raises Smoking Age to 21
The House passed SB 1727 with a substitute amendment. Today the Senate passed HB 2748 with a substitute amendment, 30-7 Today the Senate also agreed to the House version of SB 1727, 30-6. The Commonwealth of Virginia will become the seventh state to require a minimum purchase age of 21 for tobacco products, electronic cigarettes, and vaping devices containing nicotine. Thanks go to the VCACC for its strong support for this legislation. Enactment of tobacco 21 will save lives and reduce health care costs in Virginia.
Virginia General Assembly Approves Medicaid Expansion For Low-Income Patients
On May 30, the Virginia legislature voted to make Medicaid coverage available for an additional 400,000 low-income patients. ACC's Virginia Chapter President Michael Kontos, MD, FACC, and ACC President C. Michael Valentine, MD, FACC, have been engaging with key legislators in support of Medicaid expansion for several years. Daniel Carey, MD, FACC, a member of ACC's Virginia Chapter and secretary of Virginia Health and Human Resources, was instrumental in the passage of this legislation.
Support HR 3107
HR 3107 is the bipartisan “Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act,” which would bring about necessary reforms to the prior authorization process within Medicare Advantage plans. The Virginia Chapter supports the bill - go to this link and send your lawmakers a message to support the legislation.
The legislation specifically:
Creates a “real-time” electronic prior authorization process, developed by the Secretary of HHS, for items and services that are routinely approved;
Improves transparency by requiring plans to report to CMS on the extent of their use of prior authorization and the rate of approvals or denials;
Requires plans to adopt transparent prior authorization programs that are reviewed annually, adhere to evidence-based medical guidelines, and include continuity of care for individuals transitioning between coverage to minimize any disruption in care;
Holds plans accountable for making timely prior authorization determinations and to provide rationales for denials;
Prohibits additional prior authorization for medically-necessary services performed during a surgical or invasive procedure that already received, or did not initially require prior authorization.
Virginia Chapter of the American College of Cardiology